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After Effects CS4 + Snow Leopard Rendering Issues

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Adrian Jans
After Effects CS4 + Snow Leopard Rendering Issues
on Jan 11, 2010 at 11:37:54 pm

Hello All,

This is my first time posting, but I often find this community offers excellent advice that has helped me much in the past.

The problem I am having involves After Effects CS4 taking a ridiculous amount of time to render very short clips. I pretty much only ever use this program to render alpha channel videos in FLV format, (like many people) I never had problems before snow leopard. It usually took 10 minutes tops for these videos, but its been taking up to 3.5 hours for a 33 second clip... if it doesn't all together crash

I start with the clips in FCP 7, where I use the Keylight plugin to deal with the green screen.
If it matters, I filmed with a Canon Vixia HV30, shot and logged the footage in 1080i (1440x1080)
When I exported the videos I used the animation codec, millions colors+, best quality (just like I always used to).
Since these are simple "Guy standing in front of a website" videos I am trying to render this particular batch at 690x855 FLV with all the basic alpha channel stuff

I am using a 2.93 GHz Core 2 Duo macbook pro (came with Leopard1 pre installed, so I have no install discs)
currently running 10.6.2
4GB RAM

I have installed the 9.0.2 update (also tried uninstall/reinstall)
I've toyed with the settings a ton, but this is what I've used most recently:

I have OpenGL settings turned off
Motion Path selected to "No Motion Path"
I Enabled disk cache
2GB After Effects Memory Usage
2GB RAM to leave for other applications
I checked Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously
Minimum allocation per CPU 0.5GB
Slider moved all the way towards "Faster Rendering"
Foreground 0.4GB
Background 1.6GB
Actual CPU's used: 2
CPU's to leave for other application: 0

and thats about all I can think of that could be relative. Any help would be appreciated, I initially told my clients their videos would be ready about now.


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Todd Kopriva
Re: After Effects CS4 + Snow Leopard Rendering Issues
on Jan 12, 2010 at 2:14:20 am

Read this post, which basically says that you shouldn't be using Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously with that little RAM.



---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Todd Kopriva, Adobe Systems Incorporated
putting the 'T' back in 'RTFM' : After Effects Help on the Web
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
If a page of After Effects Help answers your question, please consider rating it. If you have a tip, technique, or link to share---or if there is something that you'd like to see added or improved---please leave a comment.


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Adrian Jans
Re: After Effects CS4 + Snow Leopard Rendering Issues
on Jan 12, 2010 at 2:19:07 am

Thanks a bunch, I'll test that out right away.


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Adrian Jans
Re: After Effects CS4 + Snow Leopard Rendering Issues
on Jan 12, 2010 at 2:47:13 am

Darn, unfortunately my render (for a 40 second clip) has already taken 20 min. and is only 1/4 of the way through. Anything else I can try?


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adam taylor
Re: After Effects CS4 + Snow Leopard Rendering Issues
on Jan 12, 2010 at 2:11:43 pm

i second Todds suggestion. Thats a really small amount of ram to use with AE, so switch off Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously.

You might find that it is worth stopping the render, resetting the preferences and re-rendering...this may be a quicker overall option.

Adam Taylor
Video Editor/Audio Mixer/ Compositor/Motion GFX/Barista
Character Options Ltd
Oldham, UK

http://www.sculptedbliss.co.uk


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Adrian Jans
Re: After Effects CS4 + Snow Leopard Rendering Issues
on Jan 12, 2010 at 4:16:39 pm

Yeah, thats what I tried, still gave me the same ridiculous render times. Anything else?


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Dave LaRonde
Re: After Effects CS4 + Snow Leopard Rendering Issues
on Jan 12, 2010 at 5:02:58 pm

I third Todd's recommendation. You see, AE doesn't really get fast at multiprocessing until you can give it about 2GB PER CORE.

Multiprocessing works by launching an additional instance of the AE render engine for each core, and guess what? Each of those instances eats up a good amount of RAM! So by giving your multiprocessing a measly 0.5 GB RAM, you might as well give it none.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Adrian Jans
Re: After Effects CS4 + Snow Leopard Rendering Issues
on Jan 12, 2010 at 5:37:13 pm

Alright, I'll say this more clearly, I did indeed turn multiprocessing off, all together. Which resulted in the same render times I was encountering earlier.
I have read the article Todd posted several times and have done all it has suggested short of buying more RAM (which I'm working on convincing my company to do, although $800 is a lot to drop on RAM, especially when everyone else involved in the company is running on PC's and are used to RAM costing less than 1/4 that price).

On a side note, does anyone know why Snow Leopard caused such a catastrophic change in After Effects for me? Like I said, I've done these types of renders, on the exact same machine, with the same After Effects installed and it used to only take 10 minutes to render at most. So far After Effects is the only program that has been negatively affected by Snow Leopard for me.



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Matthew Woods
Re: After Effects CS4 + Snow Leopard Rendering Issues
on Jan 13, 2010 at 5:10:44 pm

I haven't upgraded to Snow Leopard yet, so can't speak from experience, but have you tried setting both Quicktime and the OS to 32 bit mode? I seem to recall hearing about some problem with 64 bit Quicktime and pro video apps. Also you could try trashing the preferences. Sometimes a corrupt preference file can do screwy things.
What are you trying to render? Are you sure you aren't doing something computationally heavier than shots you have done in the past? High resolutions + certain heavy effects can easily cause some very long render times for a forty second shot using a single processor.



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Matthew Woods
Re: After Effects CS4 + Snow Leopard Rendering Issues
on Jan 13, 2010 at 8:12:43 pm

Memory is really important for AE. It should cost only $80 or so to upgrade to 4GB of RAM and that should help a lot. My rule of thumb is about 2-3s gig of RAM per processor used, + 1 gig leftover for finder/system operations. By that calculation, you are still short a gig for even single process use. Maybe snow leopard uses more memory than leopard, so it spares less for AE.

I don't know that a solid state drive is much faster than a physical one. I thought the big advantage of those was no moving parts and less power consumption. Personally, if you do a lot of AE work, I'd invest in a desktop. I think AE needs the horsepower and screen size.



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Adrian Jans
Re: After Effects CS4 + Snow Leopard Rendering Issues
on Jan 13, 2010 at 8:40:42 pm

Well, I currently have 4GB of RAM (2x2GB). The computer I am using, macbook pro, 2.93GHz has only 2 RAM slots and can max out at 8GB (4x2GB). If you don't mind, do you think you could send me a link to the site where you buy RAM?

The reason they are telling me a SSD would be good has something to do with the way they interact with swap files, and that SSD run incomparably faster than a hard disk, and that the hard disk basically acts as a giant bottle neck if your pushing your RAM to its limits.

In reality, the way things are right now, I pretty much only use AE to render alpha channel videos in FLV format, for whatever reason AE is the only program that handles this smoothly, (and they absolutely have to be FLV). I'm rendering simple "guy standing in front of a website" videos with a little button to minimize him. Although there is a high possibility that I will be using AE more and more throughout the job.

I would absolutely love to be able to buy a Desktop mac pro, or hell, even an imac, but the way things are, its gonna be at least a year before I can afford it, or the company feels financially comfortable enough to drop that kinda cash on me.


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Matthew Woods
Re: After Effects CS4 + Snow Leopard Rendering Issues
on Jan 13, 2010 at 5:12:51 pm

PS. Where do you buy your ram? As long as you don't buy from Apple, ram doesn't cost any more for a mac than a PC. I never buy from Apple.



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Adrian Jans
Re: After Effects CS4 + Snow Leopard Rendering Issues
on Jan 13, 2010 at 7:06:29 pm

Thank you for your advice, I'll definately implement all of them next time around. I ended up finding a version of Leopard1, installed it and AE on an external drive, while this did in fact yield slightly better render times, (bringing things down to about 1.5 hours instead of 3) it still wasn't enough of an improvement when I had about a dozen more to render (and booting from a portable every time would kinda suck), so instead I exported the files out of FCP at the resolution the websites will output the videos at (about 300x220), which brought my render times down to the 20 min. range. The reason I avoided doing that before, is because for whatever reason, downscaling the videos from within the website always yielded a much higher quality than using a video that was downscaled before uploading it to the site.

The RAM price I was quoting was indeed Apples RAM, which is really just the first thing to pop into my mind. Looking around it seems like the going rate for 8GB of RAM for the macbook pro I use is about $500 for quality, which still seems really high to me, but I guess the PC has a much more competitive market as far as hard ware add ons go (with the way PC gamers buy new hardware and all).
My company actually thinks it would make a bigger performance boost if I installed a SSD into my computer instead of more RAM (would also cost $500) does anyone have any thoughts on this? (or is that something I should take to a new forum/ thread/ look up old posts?)

I would like to thank everyone who participated in this thread, no matter if I get the answers I hope for or not, as a small town amateur, I am really appreciative that all of you seasoned Pros take any time out of your day to read and respond to my posts.


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Adrian Jans
Re: After Effects CS4 + Snow Leopard Rendering Issues
on Jan 13, 2010 at 7:17:37 pm

Oh yeah, and the only major change between this time around and the first time around is that I used Keylight to do my keying instead of the chroma key software that is stocked with FCP. But I did all that in FCP, exported out of it, and imported that video into AE, would that make that kind of a difference if I rendered the filter already in a different program?

Again, thank you to everyone.


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